GameTimePA reporters Teddy Feinberg and Jim Seip discuss potential District 3 basketball title teams from the YAIAA. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
When the York Suburban girls' basketball team started the season 3-5, playing in the postseason seemed like a long shot.
"Our backs were pretty much to the wall at that point," Trojans head coach Jess Barley said.
The Trojans ended 2016 at that 3-5 mark, but have rebounded nicely in 2017, going 10-4. And while they didn't qualify for the YAIAA tournament, they did earn a spot in the District 3 Class 4A tournament.
"We definitely got better every game during the second half of the season," Barley said. "We were peaking at the end of the season and ended the regular season on a high note."
"A lot of teams would have folded at 3-5," Barley said. "Our girls were really resilient. We are excited for the postseason and a fresh start."
The postseason starts Friday for the No. 6 Trojans (13-9, 7-7 YAIAA Division II). They'll hit the road to play No. 3 Bishop McDevitt.
Suburban last played a game on Feb. 3. How have the Trojans been staying sharp with more than 20 days between games?
"Our practices haven't changed much. We have been going 110 percent. We are playing a couple of scrimmages. The goals of the postseason drives the kids. This group has been there before and understand how hard it is to get into the postseason and how special it is to get there," Barley said.
Suburban was a No. 8 seed in districts last season, when it went 19-8 and made it to the first round of the PIAA tournament.
This year, led by Georgia DuMars, Ali Reinecker and Parker Faircloth-Henise, the Trojans are looking to last longer.
No matter how the season ends for the Trojans, Faircloth-Henise's future is bright.
The senior sits atop her class, and will find out soon if she will be valedictorian at graduation.
"When the opportunity presented itself, it was something really cool I could achieve and wanted to work for," Faircloth-Henise said.
Faircloth-Henise, who was getting attention by Division II and III schools to play basketball, chose to go to Duke on a partial academic scholarship.
"I think she ultimately could have played at that level, but when she started going on visits, she fell in love with Duke," Barley said. "She's super intelligent and she had said if she got into Duke, she was going to go the academic route over basketball.
"We have had a lot of really intelligent kids through my five years as head coach, but I think she's our first valedictorian."
After visiting other colleges in the Atlantic Coast Conference in particular, Faircloth-Henise's top choice was to go to Duke.
"I played AAU for (York Catholic head coach Kevin Bankos) this offseason and was in contact with a few different coaches that were interested in me, but ultimately, I wanted a bigger school feel," Faircloth-Henise said. "I applied to Duke early decision and I found out I got accepted before the new year."
"Once I got accepted it was one of those opportunities that I couldn't say no to."
Faircloth-Henise will study biomedical engineering at Duke.
"I've always made sure my grades are a priority," Faircloth-Henise said.